At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Please have all flowers delivered to the church the morning of the service.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Mary Jo Suman, it is easy to see that her selfless compassion extended to everyone she met. She was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her focus was on nurturing her husband, children, and grandchildren in everything they did. Fully committed to the communities she called home, Mary Jo never met a stranger and was a friend for life. She was a woman of strong morals and convictions who exemplifies what it means to love and respect all who were within her reach. Although life will never be the same without Mary Jo here, her timeless legacy and gentle touch will extend to countless others through her spirit that will remain forever alive in the hearts of her loved ones.
It seems only fitting that Mary Jo’s story began during a time that was as vibrant as she was. It was the Nifty Fifties when James Dean dominated on the silver screen while shows like Father Knows Best defined the American family and Elvis took the music world by storm with his rock ’n roll music. It was as the beauty of spring emerged in Barryton, Michigan, that Ercil C. and Oral (Gross) Williams were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby in May of 1951. Named Mary Jo, she was the youngest of five children who were all born in the family home in a small town of only 600 people. Her sister, Jan, was just 18 months older than she was, but their older siblings, JoAnn, Judy, and Jane were all much older. The youngest of the William bunch had plenty of nurturing from her older sisters.
In many ways, Mary Jo experienced an upbringing that was reflective of her generation. She enjoyed playing house and with dolls as she was both a nurturer and a homemaker through and through. Mary Jo’s father was a minister who also owned a restaurant while her mother was a homemaker. As a student at local schools, she often walked from school to her father’s restaurant for lunch. Mary Jo was very social and outgoing at school, she played the trumpet, was a cheerleader, and part of several homecoming courts. Her high school years initially found her at Barryton High School, but during her junior year her school merged with several other high schools so she finished her education at Chippewa Hills High School.
The merging of the schools proved to be quite fateful for Mary Jo since she met the young man of her dreams. He was a senior named Michael Suman, and although she was very selective about who she dated she couldn’t resist his sense of humor. They had their first date, but Mary Jo didn’t think it went too well so she kept his wallet so that she would be sure to see him again - and it worked! The couple continued dating, and with a desire to establish a life together Mary Jo and Michael were married on July 24, 1970.
After considering making a career in fashion design, Mary Jo decided to attend Lansing Business University. She worked in the office of a local insurance company for a few years, and while there the family grew to include their daughter, Stacia, in 1973. Mike’s job later took them to Louisville, Kentucky, and while there the family was completed with the birth of their son, Michael.
From the moment she became a mother, Mary Jo fully immersed herself in the role. She was an active part of her children’s lives including as a volunteer at Stacia’s preschool. Although she worked and volunteered outside the home, Mary Jo’s primary concern was for her husband, children, and grandchildren who arrived later in life. As a mother she was supportive, caring, and wanted the best for her family. As a homemaker, Mary Jo was always neat and organized. She had expectations for her children, and she was more than willing to repeat them if needed!
In 1979, the family returned to Michigan and settled in Holland. Mary Jo spent several years working as a bank teller once all her children were in school. She later started volunteering in the gift shop at Holland Hospital and ended up spending 15 years there. She combined her love for shopping with her volunteer work and became the gift shop’s buyer. Because she had a knack for decorating, Mary Jo also spend time organizing the displays and overseeing the gift shop.
All who knew Mary Jo would agree that she was an extraordinary woman to know and love. She made lifelong friends wherever she was living, and although she was not outgoing she was completely genuine. Someone who was selfless and empathetic, she was focused on helping others and taught her children to avoid judging others without walking in their shoes, first. Mary Jo was there to accompany her husband when he had dinners and social events to attend, both locally and then around the world. She mastered being an executive’s wife as she knew when to speak, what to say, and when to say nothing at all.
Throughout her life Mary Jo was always busy. She was an avid golfer and an avid member at Holland Country Club and Wuskowhan Players Club. Mary Jo played on many leagues and with anyone who would play including her grandsons later in life. She and Mike loved to dance, even taking lessons lessons at one time, and they were often the ones out on the floor at company events. Mary Jo was a wonderful host, and when she did something it was done right as she paid attention to the littlest details to make everything perfect and personal. She and Stacia had an embroidery store for several years, and Mary Jo enjoyed traveling. With a flair for fashion and decorating, she loved shopping whether for herself or for others. When their children were young, they spent some time in Florida every year, often in the Sarasota area where she loved the sun, a good book, and being with her family. Mary Jo also played all sorts of card games with family and friends.
Later in life Mary Jo and Mike moved to Caledonia. She loved being a grandmother and was an active part of her grandchildren’s lives. Mary Jo was there for every one of her grandchildren's events no matter how insignificant. She was always there to cheer from the sidelines or even to yell at the referee if need be.
Loving, kindhearted, talented, and gracious, Mary Jo Suman was beautiful on the inside and out. She was accepting and respectful of others while also selflessly giving and expecting nothing in return. Mary Jo will never be forgotten.
Mary Jo Suman, age 64, passed away August 19, 2015. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ercil and Oral Williams; her sister, Jo Anne Williams; and her brothers-in-law Craig Thompson and Dan Suman. Mary Jo is survived by her husband of 45 years, Michael; their children Michael Suman, Stacia (Derrek) Fridley; grandchildren MC Suman, Makenzie, Hunter and Wade Fridley; sisters Judy (Sherill) Bongard, Jane (Dick) Duffey, Jan Thompson; mother-in-law Irene Suman; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Nolan (Sandy) Williams, Sandy Suman, Tom (Mary) Suman, Jane (Barry) Conely and several nieces and nephews. The service to celebrate Mary Jo's life will be held on Monday, August 24, 2015 at 11 AM at Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 1675 84th Street in Caledonia. For those who wish, her family suggests memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society. To read more about Mary Jo's life, to share a favorite memory or to sign her guestbook prior to attending the service, please visit www.lifestorynet.com